According to a new survey released by the American Alliance of Museums, one out of three museums in the U.S. may shut down permanently due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic, as well as pandemic-related shutdowns across the United States, have forced museums and other arts institutions to come up with ways of maintaining their business, such as exhibiting artistic works via virtual platforms, providing them with material for future exhibitions, or causing them to close completely, which is sadly going to be the fate to one-third of American museums.
The data collected by the AAM throughout the month of June found that 33 percent of museum directors believed there was a “significant risk” of closing permanently and didn’t know if their institutions would survive. This information reveals that COVID-19-related damages are direr than earlier projected. The survey included responses from more than 750 museum directors in the U.S. and drew on a broad range of museums, like historical societies, art museums, and arboretums.
President and CEO of AAM, Laura Lott, explained of all the museums surveyed, children’s museums and science centers were at the greatest risk. New findings show 87 percent of museums have 12 months or less remaining in their operating reserves and 56 percent have enough to operate for less than six months. A total of 37 percent of respondents are expected to lose 21 to 40 percent of their operating income this year, while 64 percent predicted cuts in education, programming, and other public services due to budget cuts.
As the light at the end of the tunnel, 75 percent of museum directors were able to provide virtual educational resources to students, parents, and teachers while their institutions were closed, and 64 percent provided entertainment and other activities. Lott added: “The bright spot is that museums leaped into action in March and found ways to deliver on their mission. Money from public and private sources is crucial to saving the museum field.”